Cruz was hit on the top of the foot

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Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get much worse for the Mariners, the sight of Nelson Cruz being helped off the field and in obvious pain turned an awful day into a nightmare.

In the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game vs. the Rangers, Cruz was struck squarely on the top of his right foot by an 85-mph slider from left-hander Brandon Mann.

In obvious agony, Cruz limped to first base and was met by manager Scott Servais and athletic trainer Matt Toth. After a brief conversation, they helped Cruz off the field. The hulking designated hitter could barely put any pressure on the foot.

The Mariners announced that x-rays on Cruz’s foot were negative. He was diagnosed with a right foot contusion.

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Earlier in the day, Robinson Cano was suspended 80 games for violating the Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Losing Cruz for significant amount of time would be crippling to the Mariners’ lineup.

Mann, a native of Tacoma and graduate of Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines, was making just his second big league appearance at age 34. He had bounced around the minor leagues and pitched in Japan before signing with the Rangers this offseason.

During the spring, Mann first gained a level of notoriety after he hit Ichiro in the head with a pitch during a minor league spring training game.